Correct Alexander Dates

My Great Grandparents buried in Varnell, Georgia

My Great Grandparents buried in Varnell, Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the Hartsfield Family Bible, The Atlanta Journal -June 29, 1935, and The Dalton Citizen News the week of May 9, 1945, the stone should read:

William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875-June 29, 1935

Sarah Maro Cox Alexander: September 26, 1886- May 9, 1945

These great-grandparents are paternal, and it goes next to Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (May 15, 1918-August 10, 1985), to Oliver Haven Caylor (September 19, 1939-May 28, 1982) to me, Haven William Caylor-Brown (May 7, 1966-present).

 

 

Cousin Linda/Daddy’s Birthday

Daddy’s Birthday

Once again, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to meet a family member and do some good chatting…both online and phone. My 2nd cousin’s name is Linda Kirk. She is 8 years younger than my father, but she spent A LOT of time with Daddy, Nanny, & Granddaddy.

It’s such a treat to hear her perspective of Varnell, Georgia during the 1950s with my father. My father had a wonderful (no, nothing is ever perfect as we all know) childhood with Linda, her mother, Madeline, her father, Charles, and Linda’s brother, David. As has been told by Nanny Caylor and Linda, there was hardly a weekend that went by (for years and years mind you)  when the Caylors and the Kirks were not together.

Well, today is Daddy’s birthday (he would have been 73), and I know that Linda is like me and filled with wonderful memories of a wonderful man, my father. However, I’m envious of her because she got to know him as her “big brother” cousin who knew each other as human beings so to speak. Knowing my father as a human being was something I only got to know for a little while, and it was still that “friendship/father” relationship.  Linda and I each have our own set of blessings that came from knowing Oliver Haven Caylor….cousin to her…father to me. Happy birthday, Daddy!

Daddy would be 73 today!!

Carter & Ammon: Laughter Memories (Haven & Nanny)

Ammon's Irises

Carter & Ammon

Carter and Ammon
Okay, to begin with, I don’t have a bath picture of Carter and Ammon.
Ammon picked me some irises Saturday evening then Sean gave both Carter and Ammon a bath. During the bath, I stayed in the kitchen (some 40 feet away from the bathroom but with CLEAR ear shot) to do some cleaning. It wasn’t exactly the conversations that were clear and enjoyable but the laughter. I just had to stop and enclose the moment in my “Carter and Ammon treasure chest” that is in my heart.
My Nanny Caylor and I were parents at two different times in life: I became a parent at 42, and my Nanny became a parent at 21. However, when the laughter started I had a flashback of my Nanny telling a story about my father and his younger brother when she was a young parent. In 1944, Nanny, Granddaddy, my father, and uncle were in Brunswick, Georgia where Granddaddy was working in the shipyards to fulfill the government’s requests to keep Granddaddy working for the government without being drafted. They were living in “modern” apartments with showers: running water and showers were not a part of their house built in 1867 back in good ol’ Varnell, Georgia. Nanny was telling me the story in her kitchen about a year after my father, her son had died. It was probably the autumn of 1983. We were talking about modern conveniences, and she was telling about how modern the Brunswick apartments felt in 1944. Daddy and his brother were at the ages of like 5 and almost 2 in 1944, and they would play in the shower for fun and entertainment. That day in Nanny’s kitchen she had a flood of memories, and she said, “I can just hear them playing and laughing in the water now.” It had only been a year since the death of her eldest son, and we were all still grieving. She was standing at the stove, stopped, and tears began to fall down her cheeks. Missing my father, I got weepy as well. There was no wailing, but we had a brief cry then continued with our evening.
Last Saturday night, I became “misty-eyed” again thinking about my love for my father and my grandmother and shed a tear of happiness for having my Carter and Ammon. Since their births, their laughter has become my most favorite sound on earth.

Daddy’s Birthday (September 19, 1939)

He was born in Varnell, Georgia on Tuesday September 19,
1939. He was the first of only two children born to Troy and Naomi Caylor. He was
born at his Nanny Alexander’s house (Nanny, Granddaddy, and Daddy lived with
Nanny Alexander until January of 1941). I forgot the name of Daddy’s doctor,
but Nanny Alexander was in the room when Daddy was born. During the whole
pregnancy, Nanny knew in her heart and prayers that she was going to have a
girl. She had grown up with two younger sisters and was surrounded by girly
things for so long, she just knew she was having a girl…God had a surprise!

When Nanny woke up from the anesthesia and learned she had a
boy, she had a split second of disappointment. She even had Daddy’s name picked
out as Hannah Rebekah (both from the Bible); however, when she heard the news,
she, of course, had to give up all of her plans. Knowing Nanny the way my Nanny
Alexander and Granddaddy did, they knew she wouldn’t mind if THEY named him (I’m
serious. They knew she wouldn’t mind, and she didn’t). While Nanny was sleeping and Nanny Alexander and Granddaddy gave Daddy his first bath, they named him Oliver Haven Caylor: Oliver from Nanny’s father, William Oliver Alexander, and Haven from
Granddaddy’s father, Luther Haven Caylor.

I could keep writing and writing about Daddy, but emotionally it’s kind of
difficult, so I will say just one more thing. From 1979 until his death on May
28, 1982, my father and I shared a multiplicity of wonderful times together. My
favorite times that I have stored in my heart were when he and I traveled back
and forth to church together and discussed the Lord, the Bible, school, life in general, and Coonhounds. It was such a wonderful and fulfilling experience having Daddy
as both my earthly father AND brother in Jesus Christ. That precious bond is
something that death and time cannot erase. Happy Birthday in heaven, Daddy.

Granddaddy/Grandmaw Stone

September 10th (yesterday) would have been my
granddaddy’s 94th birthday. Once again, his name was Troy Dewitt
Caylor. He was born on September 10, 1917, and he died on March 29, 1979. He
was one of those grandfathers that could almost be an ideal cliché: He smoked a
pipe, he could do carpentry, was an excellent farmer, loved yard work, could
fix anything that had an engine, could make crafts and holiday sceneries, and
most of all, he loved his family. I was almost 13 when he died, but I have so
many cherished memories of that man. I loved him dearly, and he loved me. As I
have said before, he showed all of his grandchildren so much love. I have
someone else to add to my “Happy Birthday” to Granddaddy message. I simply know
her as Grandmaw Stone.

My granddaddy’s
family was hit hard by the Spanish Flu of 1918. Granddaddy’s parents and four
siblings were gravely ill, and, unfortunately, one of his older sisters, Billie,
died. The family lived in Varnell, Georgia. Granddaddy’s grandparents, the
Caylors, lived there as well. However, afraid of the flu themselves, they did
not enter my grandfather’s house for fear of catching the dreaded disease. They
would bring food and supplies to the house, but simply leave it all on the
porch and return home. Grandmaw Stone did not live in Varnell. She lived in
Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was Granddaddy’s step-grandmother. My great-grandmother Mattie Stone Caylor’s mother had died when she was a young girl, and her father remarried the woman of whom I am writing, Grandmaw Stone. Well, the family was “falling by the way-side”: They were all sick, and Billie had died. Enter Grandmaw Stone: A woman of faith, courage, and love of family.
She had other children and grandchildren
to worry about, but she left her “disease-free” home in Chattanooga, took the
train to Varnell, and walked right through the front door of my Granddaddy’s
house. She took over! She nursed my great-grandparents and Granddaddy’s three
surviving, older siblings, cooked food, cleaned the house, and started the
laundry. When everything had calmed down, she found my Granddaddy who had been “tucked away and forgotten” basically resting peacefully in his crib without, praise be
to God, the flu. She picked him up, changed his soiled clothes, and fed that
boy. She told my Nanny Caylor years later, “That boy was just about starved to death!”

My Nanny and Granddaddy were married in 1938, and I know
Grandmaw Stone was still alive then. My Nanny loved her! Nanny said she was so
kind, loving, and had lots of pep for a lady her age. Nanny said one thing
Grandmaw Stone always said for the years left that she knew her was that when
she saw Granddaddy, she said, “There’s my boy!” She had several other grandsons
and nephews, but no one else was “her boy” but Granddaddy because of that bond
they shared. So, thank you, God, again, for Granddaddy, and thank you for Grandmaw
Stone . Oh, my, the admiration and love I have for Grandmaw Stone, and she died
many, many years before I was born.

Nanny Caylor: Birthday

Nanny Caylor

Her full name was Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor.  She was born May 15, 1918. May 15 was also her father’s birthday who was born in 1875. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, but she grew up in Atlanta. Her father worked for Southern Railroad as an engineer, and he was killed outside the tunnel at Braswell Mountain near Rockmart, Georgia when his train exploded in June of 1935. Nanny, her mother, and sisters moved to Varnell, Georgia where her mother (My Nanny Alexander) was born and raised in January of 1936.

Two years later, she married my grandfather, Troy Dewitt Caylor, and 10 months later my father, Oliver Haven Caylor was born. Their second son was born in January of 1943. She outlived her parents, her sisters, her husband, and my father. There was a part of her soul that was like Naomi from the Bible especially when Biblical Naomi told the people to call her Mara which meant “God has dealt bitterly with me.” However, she leaned on Jesus Christ as her strength and her redeemer and never forsook him. She was a great mother, a spectacular grandmother, an exemplary Christian lady, and a great friend to me.

She was my Bible study confidant, and we loved to talk about world traveling and world events. We also shared good short stories, classical literature, and she was a walking treasure trove of family, oral history. I could listen to her talk about our ancestors and her childhood forever. Literally, we could sit up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. simply looking at pictures, family Bibles, or family heirlooms. We had to make ourselves go to bed. When my father died in 1982, she and I leaned on each other in our bereavement. I was so glad God let me have her for three more years. Nanny died on August 10, 1985. She has been dead for over 25 years now, and I still dearly miss her. It is also a treat when I dream about her and her house, but, of course, a part of my heart is lonesome when I awake and she is only, once again, in my memory and in those dreams.

I cannot wait to share all these things plus tons more with Carter and Ammon. Nanny will live on through them. Happy Birthday up there in Heaven, Nanny. We love you!

Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (Photo Date: March 1982)

Headed to Mamaw’s

Because of major time needed to pack/throw things away, Carter and Ammon are headed to my mother’s house for the day. They LOVE going to Mamaw’s house. Carter especially will ask several times a week while we are playing,  “We go Mamaw’s house?”. I kinda feel the same way. The house is where I grew up in Varnell, Georgia. This June will make Mamaw’s 40th year living there. I could write and write about Mamaw, but all I am going to say today is that she is one of my heroes in life: wonderful wife, devoted daughter to her parents, awesome mother, spectacular grandmother to her four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, breast cancer survivor, and so much more. Mamaw, we love you!

Mamaw, Ammon, Carter, & Sophie July 2010